Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday set up a fresh row over its probe into Sushant Singh Rajput, recommending a CBI probe into the actor’s death on June 14. Kumar’s announcement came after Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey spoke with the actor’s father earlier in the day.
“The state government has sent its recommendation for a CBI probe into the FIR registered by Sushant Singh Rajput’s father KK Singh,” Nitish Kumar tweeted on Tuesday afternoon after completing the paperwork to make the recommendation.
Kumar had earlier in the day announced that his government would seek a CBI probe after Bihar lawmakers across parties demanded that the central investigating agency take up the case.
Bihar lawmakers had yesterday again pushed for a CBI inquiry in the state assembly. BJP leader Neeraj Singh, who is also Sushant’s cousin, was the first to raise the demand. Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav quickly backed him up, saying Sushant Singh Rajput’s family should get justice.
The actor’s suicide in Mumbai has been a politically sensitive case in Bihar, Sushant Singh’s home before he moved to Mumbai. Bihar assembly elections are scheduled later this year and no party wants to be seen standing on the wrong side of the narrative around Sushant Singh Rajput’s death in Bihar.
But the attempt by Bihar Police to launch a parallel investigation into Sushant Singh’s death in Mumbai had been a controversial one, right from the beginning over the jurisdiction of the state police for offences alleged to have taken place in Maharashtra.
Satish Maneshinde, the lawyer who is representing actor Rhea Chakraborty, was the first to launch a counter-attack at the Bihar government, wondering how it could recommend transfer of a case that it had no business investigating. Maneshinde told reporters that the Bihar police could only register a zero FIR.
A zero FIR is registered by a police station when an offence reported to it has been committed in the area under the jurisdiction of a different police station.
Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh has made the same point. “The law is clear. If the incident has not happened in our jurisdiction, we register a ‘zero’ first information report [FIR], and transfer it,” the Mumbai police chief said on Monday.
But the sharpest attack came from Randeep Surjewala, the Congress’ chief spokesperson.
Surjewala said it was time for the chief minister to read the Constitution again.
“It is the responsibility of the state government to maintain law and order within the state. In Maharashtra, it is the responsibility of Maharashtra’s coalition government led by Uddhav Thackeray to enforce the law. Nitish Kumar should read the Constitution again. Nitish Kumar or the Bihar government cannot interfere with the investigations by trying to force its way in,” Surjewala said.
The standoff between Mumbai and Bihar police over the Sushant Singh case is seen to mirror the rivalry between the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar and Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition that comprises the Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.
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